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[Palestine] [National Liberation] [Aztlan/Chicano] [U.S. Imperialism] [ULK Issue 83]
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Aztlán Stands with Palestinian People

The October 7th attack that was launched by Palestine in the war for national liberation is but a response to their colonization from the hands of the settler colonialist Israel. For decades the Palestinians have maintained a consistent push for freedom to live without the threat of genocide at their doorstep. The Chicano nation overstands the need to struggle under the brute heel of colonization, our occupied territories – like the Palestinians – will not be free until the oppressor nation is overthrown point blank period! For this reason Aztlán stands with the Palestinian people in their freedom struggle.

Palestine and Aztlan Occupied territories

According to the Gaza Health Ministry since 7 October 2023, 2,670 Palestinians have been killed [as we go to press that number has doubled] and Israel has continued to spread its disinformation in regards to the cause of the savagery unleashed by Israel. The truth is the Israeli war on Palestine has the full backing by Chief Colonizer in the World – the United Snakes. The U.$. completely ignores the decades of war crimes Israel has unleashed on Palestine, from white phosphorous cluster bombs to terrorizing generations of Palestinians with death and psychological warfare.

Today the U.$. propaganda “news outlets” snivel about 20 alleged U.$. citizens being supposedly held in Gaza. [By the time this article went live, Hamas had released two elderly prisoners who reported being handled “gently” and seemingly treated better than many prisoners who read Under Lock & Key in the United $tates.] Once again the people here in these occupied territories are being fed snake oil in preparation for U.$. Special Ops to enter Gaza and provide full technical and logistical support for its settler brethren. For this reason we hear a lot about allegations of violence from groups within Palestine. But how about the Reuters journalist Issam Abdallah who was murdered on Friday the 13th of October 2023 after Israel unleashed a brutal shelling on Palestine?

The Chicano nation stands with Palestine and welcomes the wrath of resistance that oppression harvests.

Viva Palestine! Viva Aztlán! Free Palestine! Free Aztlán!

Communist Party of Aztlan logo
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[Control Units] [Rhymes/Poetry] [Deaths in Custody] [ULK Issue 83]
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If These Wallz Could Talk

If the wallz of prison life could talk I wonder what they’d say.
From overseer to officer, from predator to prey.
Solitary confinement, oppressive and inhuman, involuntary servitude
Psychologically still in chains - Prison Boom! when it rains it pours.
Price gouging and extortion, bleeding our families with inmate store.
A revolving door, crippled from the lack of education
Under Lock & Key, agitated and pacing, hoping and waiting,
Political devil in disguise. Drug-infested prisons, breeds chemical suicide
Pleading for a way out of this bottomless pit,
Another murder covered up. Prison guard orchestrated the hit.
Violent prison stabbings, dry tazed to death
Poor ventilation, heat exhaustion, claimed his last breath.
The ultimate test is to stand firm and bear witness,
Because these wallz are speaking volumes, and if you’re wise,
Listen…..
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[Palestine] [Middle East] [U.S. Imperialism] [ULK Issue 84]
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A Brief History On Palestine

All Power To The People

As prisoners our imprisonment stultifies our social consciousness, our isolation prevents us from receiving information about the world from social interaction and direct experience. We are expected to relate to the world – and form our opinions about it and what should be done in it – through the ruling class’s media; if it wasn’t reported, it didn’t happen. The way it’s shown is how it is.

All of the mainstream media sources claim objectivity, but they don’t practice it. How can news be objective when the very language is biased as in the I$raelis always being “allies” and the Palestinians always being “terrorists?” This is obvious in the reporting being done by the mainstream media and the U.$. government as it pertains to Hamas’ attack on I$rael. The “terrorist attack” narrative is being shoved down our throats. With their half-truths, omissions, spins, etc, they have led the masses to conclude that what we are being told is the truth. This is evident in my peers’ responses to the ongoings of the Middle East.

I encourage all prisoners to ascertain the truth of the matter via conducting their own research. Because whatever the news story, trusting and believing it as it is laid out is the most beneficial practice to the ruling class and their “allies”.

The forthcoming is by no means an exhaustive piece, nor a diatribe. My intention is to provide you with some context as it pertains to the conflict between I$rael and Gaza. This conflict dates back to when the Ottoman Empire ruled the region. Prior to WWI, the area now known as I$rael was known as Palestine and was part of the Ottoman Empire. During WWI, as the fall of the Ottoman Empire became imminent, the governments of France and Great Britain signed the Sykes-Picot Agreements on 16 May 1916. France and Great Britain agreed “to recognize and protect an independent Arab state or a confederation of Arab states” upon the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire. In December 1917, Palestine was occupied by the Allied Forces under General Allenby of Britain. After WWI, the Allied powers divided the former Ottoman Empire into mandates and Great Britain was given a mandate from the League of Nations to govern Palestine.

In 1917, before the British mandate, the native Arab population accounted for approximately 94% of the total population. Under the mandate from 1922 to 1947, the Jewish population in Palestine increased by approximately 725%. During the twenty-year British mandate, violence was used by Jewish settlers to establish territory. As Jewish immigration into Palestine continued, Britain refused to recognize Palestinian right to self-government. The Zionists resorted to violence to hold the ground they gained and to press toward their ultimate aspirations of a Jewish state in Palestine.

On 29 November 1947, the U.N. voted to divide Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states and make Jerusalem an international city. The Arabs rejected this plan, which was later dropped. After the announcement of this plan, violence erupted in Palestine and within three months, 869 people died and 1,909 people were injured in Palestinian-Jewish clashes. Jewish paramilitary attacks on Palestine villages led to the mass exodus of Palestinian Arabs to other areas of Palestine as well as other countries. The displacement of over 750,000 Palestinians from their land during this period is referred to as the Nakba, or catastrophe. The violence escalated as the neighboring Arab states (Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Transjordan) joined the hostilities and fought what came to be known as the 1948 Arab-I$raeli or Middle East War.

After the British mandate expired on 14 May 1948, I$rael declared its independence as a state. The U.$. and the USSR subsequently recognized I$rael. The I$raeli forces were well-armed and well-trained and quickly overpowered the forces of the intervening Arab states. By the end of the war, I$rael occupied most of the territory of Palestine, with the exception of the area along the West Bank of the Jordan River (known since as the “West Bank”) and a strip of land along the Mediterranean Sea (known since as the “Gaza Strip”).

In 1948, the Arab-I$raeli war ended with the signing of the bilateral armistice agreements between I$rael and Egypt, I$rael and Lebanon, I$rael and Jordan, and I$rael and Syria. The purpose of these agreements was to reach a formal peace treaty within six months, but it ultimately failed.

In 1956, Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal and barred I$raeli ships from using it along with the straits of Tiran, another shipping route. [ULK editor: this is a precedent for what Yemen is doing to stop ships to I$rael in the Red Sea today.] I$rael, who was aided by Britain and France at the time, then invaded Egypt. The Soviet Union, who was an ally of Egypt, threatened I$rael with nuclear retaliation if they did not exit Egypt. This threat forced the U.$. to pressure the British, French, and I$raeli forces to withdraw. Subsequently a peacekeeping force was deployed by the U.N.

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was formed in 1964 in Egypt. The purpose of the PLO was to unite Arab groups and liberate the Palestinian territories through armed struggle. The PLO would later become co-opted by the United $tates and I$rael and change its name to the Palestinian Authority (PA).

In 1967, Egypt ordered the U.N. forces to leave and closed the Straits of Tiran to I$rael again.

This sparks the Six Day War. I$rael attacks Egypt and later Jordan and Syria, capturing Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Sinai Peninsula.

From 1973 until 1979 – when the Camp David Accords peace deal was set up by U.$. President Jimmy Carter and signed by Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and I$raeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin – war raged unchecked.

As all prior peace agreements the Camp David Accords peace deal was short-lived. In 1987 Palestinians organized by the recently created Hamas staged the first of the two uprisings [intifadas], in Gaza, I$rael and in the West Bank, using mass boycotts, civil disobedience and attacks on I$raelis. More than 50 I$raeli civilians were killed. From 1987 to 1990, the Palestinians and Hamas held numerous protest demonstrations to which the I$raeli Defense Forces (IDF), special forces, police, and I$raeli settlers responded with live ammunition, indiscriminate beatings of Palestinians, as well as other means of oppression. The primary focus of Hamas was to spread its Islamist ideology and respond to the immediate needs of the Palestinian people, particularly their need of basic services and psychological need to resist I$rael’s brutal and racist military occupation of Gaza and the West Bank.

After the PLO sold out the Palestinian struggle for national liberation by signing the Oslo agreement with I$rael in 1993 the people of Gaza supported Hamas becoming a political structure. Subsequently they elected members of Hamas into positions of local leadership, then ultimately as their overall national leadership. Hamas has remained relatively free of pressures and outside influences. They have set up social support programs to help provide for basic needs like food and medical care that I$rael has been blocking for decades now. The Palestinian people took up arms against I$rael and its illegal settlements that have been murdering Palestinians, especially children, and increasingly stealing their land. In 2006 the Palestinian people elected Hamas as their national political leadership in place of the PA despite knowing the United $tates and I$rael would retaliate by cutting all funding they were giving to prop up the neo-colonial PA, and scraps they were tossing to the already ruined Gaza economy. So if we are to keep it real Hamas is a reflection of and carrying out the will of the Palestinian people.

In 2008, I$rael launched a major military campaign against Hamas. The fighting ceased on 18 January 2009, with 1,440 Palestinians and 13 I$raelis killed. I$raeli forces killed Hamas’s military chief Ahmed Jabani in a missile strike. The strike was part of an I$raeli operation to eliminate weapons, and Hamas members in Gaza. In the wake of the death of their military Chief, Hamas made it clear that the “gates of hell had been opened.”

From 2012 up until the most recent attack by Hamas there have been constant clashes between Hamas and I$rael. If you noticed there have been more Palestinians murdered. Even after the attack that occurred on October 7, over 15,000 [and counting] Palestinians have been killed, including people of all ages. The I$raelis have prevented any humanitarian aid from entering Gaza, they have had Gaza under a blockade for 16 years, and they have had over 2 million Palestinians confined to a 147 square mile open air prison. It is axiomatic that violence begets violence. The oppressor should never holla “terrorist attack!” when the rooster is simply coming home to roost.

Dare To Struggle
Dare To Win

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[First World Lumpen] [Political Repression] [Grievance Process] [Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility at Rock Mountain] [California] [ULK Issue 83]
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Materialist Analysis of the Stop Snitching Slogan: Stop Collaborating!

stop snitching

Introduction: Current Existing Ideas Around Snitching

As Marxist-Leninist-Maoists it is important to apply the dialectical materialist method when it comes to handling the contradictions among the masses. In the prison context where most of our organizing revolves around, the contradictions between various prisoner individuals, national groups, and lumpen organizations can become antagonistic and it is our job to transform this antagonistic contradiction into a non-antagonistic one and resolve it from there out.

One example of idealism is around the “stop snitching” slogan and campaign. Is “stop snitching” a correct slogan? Only an idealist could answer this question without more information. The materialist method of finding out what would constitute “snitching” would be to analyze the material conditions of how this “stop snitching” idea came about, the purposes it was for, which classes were promoting it, and going from there. What we must not do is treat it like a general platitude where it can be abused for anti-people purposes and exploited by the pigs to get the masses to fight amongst themselves.

To assume the most righteous origins of the “stop snitching” slogan, we can think of various lumpen organizations, who might be in competition and rivalry with each other at times. Yet these organizations all come to agree that they have a common interest in not sending the oppressor’s cops against each other. Perhaps there is a consciousness as oppressed people uniting these L.O.s to come to this conclusion. But certainly there is a material interest in staying alive and out of prison by reducing the amount of police involvement in their lives.

The “stop snitching” campaign was a success. So much so that today, in many prisons, it has been taken up as an idealistic and dogmatic truth rather than a materialist principle to apply in differing conditions. To many this slogan is true for all times and all places. In fact, it is so absolutely true that they apply it to the police themselves! We’ve received reports from many parts of the country that comrades can’t get others to file grievances against abuse and inhumane conditions against the system because fellow prisoners don’t want to “snitch”.

Now in reality, those fellow prisoners are probably just scared of what prison staff will do to them, so they use the “stop snitching” slogan as an excuse to do nothing and live quietly under the boot of oppression which the stop snitching principle was brought up to fight against in the first place.

However, those who stand up for themselves recognize the role of grievances. We live in a bourgeois democracy. The image of the rule of law is important to the enemy even if things become lawless in the corners of society, like in prisons. There is a grievance system and the bourgeois/imperialist state says they will follow that system. That means this is a tool that can and should be used to improve conditions for comrades organizing within the belly of the beast and fight for the political rights to build independent institutions. To call that snitching is to say that something is true because it’s true; not because of any actual evidence or material basis. To call this snitching is to lack any analysis of class, nation, gender or who are our friends and who are our enemies.

And as we discussed in the last issue of ULK, we must learn to think in percentages to build the United Front for Peace in Prisons. Thinking in absolutes, allows the enemy to keep us divided.

Case Scenario: Inmate Collaborators and Pigs Using Anti-Snitching Sentiment to Repress Prisoners in CDCR

In one of many reports like this, a comrade in California recently wrote us:

Dear MIM Distributors,

I am a disabled person under the Armstrong v. Newsom injunction where I continue to be targeted by officers who specialize in pitting prisoners against each other to discourage and deter use of the grievance process at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility (RJD), and in retaliation for the same.

On the morning of 25 August 2023, while exiting my cell quarters to be issued my breakfast and lunch Kosher meal, one of the inmate porter workers (infamous for not only disruptions, violence, and fighting other prisoners on the unit; but also carrying out retaliatory terrorism for officers against prisoners who use the RJD grievance process to report misconduct) began to ridicule me without provocation.

Subsequent to returning to my cell and at commencement of A.M. medication, officer G. Sellano supervised pill line near my cell as the same prisoner porter worker came to my cell door and began hostile provocation calling me a “snitch” for pending grievances (Attached as Exhibit A). Both of which involve this very same inmate porter worker and officer G. Sellano.

This inmate porter worker then stood outside my cell door on a rant to provoke me by yelling “snitch, you a bitch, you wrote a buz on me and Sellano.” The whole time officer G. Sellano stood listening, watching as the inmate porter worker then openly blasted how he is able to “do what I want all around here, I can fight anybody I want and nothing will happen. I won’t even get a 115.” Challenging me to fight as officer G. Sellano stood listening and watching while supervising the A.M. medication line next to my assigned cell.

Said inmate porter worker then began yelling to the tower officer to open my cell door in order to attack me while officer G. Sellano continued to fail to intervene, act, or quell the growing disorder.

The inmate porter worker in question is allowed to volunteer work for officer G. Sellano where the inmate receives detailed information on pending grievances filed against officer G. Sellano – then uses that personal knowledge of grievance information to confront, intimidate, and provoke some violent incident with the grievant: all while officers on the unit watch.

Facility Captain Lewis has turned a blind eye to not only this particular inmate porter worker’s ongoing propensity for violence and daily disruptions on the housing unit, but also the fact that this particular inmate porter worker is and has been for months now, used as a torpedo for housing officers like G. Sellano to be programmed to target prisoners like me who use the grievance process here at RJD while Warden James Hill has been unable to prevent officers like G. Sellano from using working knowledge of department operations to gather information for the purposes of endangering the safety and the welfare of those confined therein.

Inmates vs Prisoners

Inmates are the categorical definition used by the U.$. law to white wash their crimes. It is no different politically than to call the torture of Iraqi POWs “enhanced interrogation.” Inmate also implies a more collaborative relationship between captive and captor, which is an appropriate term to use for the inmate porter described above. A politically appropriate term for the vast majority of the imprisoned lumpen in this country would be prisoners or captives. We do not live in a time where wars are officially declared or sanctioned by governments through formalized documents. Wars are declared through invasions (such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine), bombings (such as Al-Qaeda’s destruction of the twin towers), etc. The U$A has waged war against the oppressed nations inside their borders through mass imprisonment and police occupation – thinly disguised as “war on crime” or “war on drugs.” During this mass imprisonment and lumpenization of the oppressed nation masses through the criminal inju$tice system, inmates are those who collaborate with the pigs behind bars – a consciousness of a lumpen class in itself. A lumpen class for itself, as Marx used the term, would recognize the political importance of the two distinctions.

As stated earlier, the stop snitching slogan can be utilized as principled solidarity as fellow oppressed nationals within the constant anti-people activities of the lumpen class. Through popular support, such as hip-hop culture, this stop snitching principle would even extend beyond street life into the youth where telling on adults or school teachers would even be considered snitching. The principle of a specific lumpen life now become a general platitude and empty virtue. We ask our imprisoned lumpen readers, can snitching really be stopped without independent power from the oppressor? What would it mean to be loyal to “your people” or “your folks”? Can the principle of anti-snitching be applied to the enemy who it is designed to protect fellow oppressed nations or lumpen from in the first place?

We hope to move the discussion a step forward for our readers who seek to transform the anti-people gangster mentality to the pro-people revolutionary path. Using the few rights that the oppressed are given against the oppressor to build power among the masses is not snitching. Perhaps this over-emphasis on snitching on fellow criminals (as the government are criminals oftentimes in lawless corners of society such as prisons) shows the class in itself level consciousness that many of our readers might be susceptible to.

Stop Snitching!

Stop Collaborating!

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[Drugs] [Medical Care] [Abuse] [Prison Food] [Bridgeport Unit] [Bill Clements Unit] [Connally Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 83]
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Prisoners Punished for Drug Problem in Texas

On 6 September 2023 the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) prison system mandated a statewide Lockdown due to the number of deaths related to drugs: a total of 16. They think that will stop the flow of drugs, but you and I know that it will not. You and I know that as long as you have officers that are willing, it will continue.

…Most here are having to do all of their sentence, and some have said fuck it, I will continue to get high. They don’t have to worry about going to jail, cause they are already in jail. But it seems to be that the only ones making parole are the ones that consistently stay high. Do you think that if more were making parole that would cut down on some of the drugs being used?


Choper reports from Bill Clements on the same day: The Bill Clements Unit has been continually operating at 20% to 30% short of staff for three straight years now. In Ad-Seg I have had my 1 hour out of cell 4 times in 2 years. We have had spaghetti sauce and beans 2x per day every day for 90+ days. Commissary always has an excuse why they don’t run and library runs roughly 6x per year instead of weekly.

The wardens and majors and rank walk through and focus on taking down pictures and string lines. Micromanaging the small shit instead of handling real issues like starvation and excessive suicide. There is no medical provider on staff here so don’t run medical. No mental health. Prescriptions run out long ago and nobody to refill.

Today we are on lockdown because they can’t control contraband: this itself is an admission of failure by staff. I mean you can’t manage 20-30% staff? WTF would they do with 100% staff? Their incompetence is killing, literally killing us. As in deaths. A lot of them.


A Connally Unit prisoner wrote on 25 September 2023: I am currently G5 custody level being held at Connally Unit in Kennedy, Texas at a Texas State Prison (TDCJ). We are currently on lockdown. I believe all TDCJ is under lockdown. Apparently they are cracking down on narcotics and any other form of contraband. We have been on lockdown since Wednesday, 6 September 2023. Correction, that was an annual lockdown. We had a restriction lockdown on 24 August 2023, and we have been on lockdown ever since.

Our last commissary day, the last time we actually hit, was on August 21st. I believe we are supposed to go every 30 days or so, at least a hygiene store and we haven’t had any of that! The first restriction lockdown was placed (not formally but rumor goes) because someone snitched gave TDCJ staff heads up about some contraband and people involved. Who and what I am not sure. I am not allowed out of the cell except for showers! Up until recently they was not running showers regularly.

We received tablets (all G5 custody) on Tuesday, 19 September 2023. Since then things have gotten way better! Showers run more regularly, food comes at reasonable times. We get cold water runs! The food portions are better than before. The fires have stopped! You know, I am not sure if visitation is now open. The terrors have since stopped though! What a relief. Ok, so the terrors began on the 1st day of restriction lockdown (8/24) I couldn’t see much and didn’t know what was going on but they raided (shookdown) a couple people’s cells in 8 Building L pod 3 section. We was never informed that we was placed on restriction lockdown or why. I found out gossip from another inmate.

Since day one, no showers, no cold water runs, no heat respite, (I don’t believe G5’s get any respite) small food portions and they would run late. It is extremely hot in Connally. It is even hotter back here. Connally Unit is a down south Texas max security unit. There have been multiple times I have passed out due to the heat, woken up with major headaches, bloodshot eyes, and chapped lips!

…They shook us down on September 9th, Saturday. They didn’t finish the whole building til 15th or 16th, which is about when we got our dearly beloved SSI’s back!!! The suffering ends, partially… When they shook us down – cell search – they took the whole section out cell by cell in cuffs, and placed half the section in one side multi-purpose room and the other half in another multi-purpose room.

We came back to a Great Mess! Haha, I don’t mind the mess, I had to re-organize my belongings anyways. I wonder why they would ask us to place our things, all of our property, neatly on our own bunks, mattress like this and that, come back to our things mixed up?! Comical! One dude went hysterical, yelling at the laws and complaining about coffee spilled on all his property! Clothes, sheets, family pictures, etc. Then, here come the fires! Multiple inmates was angry, each with their own complaints. By this time the guards had given up on putting out the fires. Which is unpleasant, adding heat literally to the already hot building and smoke. Many times I had to cover up not to breath the toxic carbon monoxide! The section gets so full of smoke it’s completely black. I figured the best thing to do was place one fan by the door blowing outwards and a fan by the window blowing hot air in. I would have to place a wet towel on the door to keep smoke from coming in. Every day was something new, every day an issue appeared! Every day a fire was made, some two, some three at a time, two or three times a day… The last fire was put out by an officer, a sergeant.

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[Russia] [International Connections] [Anti-Imperialism] [Ukraine] [ULK Issue 83]
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Updates On Russian Imperialism and the Ukraine Conflict

A Quick Recap On Russian Imperialism

We have written in April of 2022 reviewing some quick FAQs with regards to the situation in Ukraine at the time. We believe some important points we must reassess and new points to bring up are as follows:

  • Both Russia and Ukraine have problems of fascism in their society expressed through the most reactionary elements of the Wagner Group of Russia and the infamous Azov Battalion of Ukraine. Both sides are vehement anti-communists despite the sensationalist portrayals of Putin as a USSR-esque tyrant in mainstream media political cartoons. Ukrainian reactionaries will topple down Soviet era statues while for the Russian imperialists, Ukraine itself is a giant Soviet era statue that must be toppled down and engulfed into Russia. Ukraine would have never gotten its independence in the first place without the world’s first proletarian dictatorship of the USSR.

  • Unlike the United $tates, Japan, Western Europe, and etc., Russian imperialism does not have a majority labor aristocrat population (despite a very significant one) and the class interests of the Russian proletariat lines up with the class interests of the Ukrainian proletariat against Russian and NATO imperialism.(0)

  • At best, Soviet nostalgia expressed in Russia longs for social-imperialist era command economy coupled with resentment of the political-economic crises caused by the complete opening up of Soviet markets. It is an unscientific frustration of the general masses in Russia. At worst, it is a rallying tool for current Russian imperialism’s moral justification akin to how concepts like democracy, freedom, and women’s rights were rallying tools of U.$. imperialism’s military invasions in the Middle East. We wish to practice revolutionary optimism in regards for the anti-revisionist communists in Russia and Ukraine who could take this popular sentiment away from the hands of the imperialists and into the hands of the broad masses.

  • Oftentimes in our current conditions where the anti-imperialist movement is weak and undeveloped, the best thing for U.$. imperialism’s involvement in the war in Ukraine is giving the masses the correct analysis from the vantage point of the international proletariat. We should avoid “cheer leading” between various imperialist powers where “various people’s wars and nations at war… [become akin to] fandoms for TV shows to obsess and argue over rather than a movement to popularize and create awareness for.”. We recognize the importance of organs like Under Lock & Key and independent institutions like United Struggle Within – both in their strengths and limitations – for the imprisoned section of the lumpen class.

The Wagner Group

One significant development this summer was an attempted coup by the Wagner Group against the government of Russia. For our readers who might not know, the Wagner group is a private military mercenary group of the Russian Federation formed through the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea.(1) While its origins are unclear, the group has been claimed to have been founded by both Dmitry Utkin and Yevgeny Prigozhin with the the former having been the field military commander and the latter being the financier and military programmer.(2) Utikin, being a veteran of the Chechen Wars, was said to have had great admiration of Nazi Germany and his nickname in the battlefield was given by eir fellow imperialist soldiers as “Wagner” named after the German composer whose music was popularly used by Hitler and eir fascist goons as rallying songs during marches.(3) Due to the Nazi ideologies which were part of the Wagner Group’s political DNA from the start, fascist slogans and graffiti by the group’s presence in Ukraine has been known to have surfaced.(4)

On 20 May 2023 Prigozhin, at the time the top commander of the Wagner Group, took the city of Bakhmut, Ukraine.(5) Ey criticized top Russian officials of the military, the defense minister, and the chief of general staff withholding artillery ammunition from the Wagner Group and accused them of “high treason.”(6) Defense minister Sergei Shoigu announced that all members of “volunteer units” must be required to sign contracts with the ministry by July 1st in order to get Wagner and similar mercenary groups under a tighter leash. Despite Prigozhin’s close loyalty to Putin, the latter has chosen to back the defense minister’s decision.(7)

On the midnight of 24 June 2023, Prigozhin while denying to sign the contract and have eir fascist mercenary goons under Russian imperialist control announced a “march for justice” leaving Ukraine and having the first column enter Russia’s Southern Military District. Prigozhin demanded that Shoigu and Gerasimov be brought to him and held a blockade of the city. On the city of Voronezh, the group shot down Russian military helicopters and a command aircraft killing at least a dozen soldiers marking the start of the rebellion.(8) With Putin’s condemnation and the labeling of Prigozhin’s act as treason, the rebellion came to a quick end. On the Sunday of 24 August 2023, Russian authorities have confirmed that Prigozhin has died in a plane crash.(9)

The rhetoric that Russia is an anti-fascist or anti-colonial force in the global imperialist system is a bold-faced lie of Russian imperialism. Acknowledging this fact is in no way supporting Ukraine’s own fascism ridden government. It is the instinct of petty-bourgeois moralism to see armed conflicts as a side of the good guys and the bad guys. This war itself is an inter-imperialist battle where Russian imperialism seeks to gain global hegemony against U.$./NATO aligned forces and where the nation of Ukraine is caught in the middle of this geo-political tug-of-war. The fact that the fascists of Ukraine’s Azov Battalion and the fascists of Russia’s Wagner Group are fighting each other is just another telltale sign how fascism is an incoherent nihilistic political trend that must be stomped out.

Russia Sympathies Among the Masses

Many prisoner comrades have written to us since the previous article was published where they expressed some sympathies for Russian imperialism. Many arguments had to do with the fact that Russian imperialism was defending itself against the NATO/U.$. led powers.

A California prisoner commented:

”I hear too many well proclaimed communists taking sides with Ukraine. “Putin is a fascist,” “Putin is imperialist,” etc…

As a prisoner I have learned to be very cautious about taking sides, I see all kinds of evil up here everyday: a lot of schemes, manipulations, scam artists. I see all of them here in prison.

So why? Why is the United $nakes so interested in Ukraine winning? Why is it worth trillions of dollars to the U.$. for Ukraine to win? We, the common people like myself, does not understand things like the stock market, and the grain exchange. I understand that grain is sold for money. What I don’t understand is how a whole completely separate market created out of thin air, selling absolutely nothing but grain calling itself the grain exchange that is something only the capitalists who run the world understand.

If I had to guess with my simple mind, I would say that Ukraine sells its grain to the west at a premium as a means to launder dirty drug money. But that’s just my simple mind. It probably has more to do with the grain exchange, capitalism itself.“

One sentiment we can agree with this prisoner comrade is that the job of communists and revolutionaries in the U.$. would be to see U.$. imperialism as their principal enemy. Many communists can so far agree with this line, the problem comes in deeper with regards to the analysis of other major imperialist countries – especially ones that spout anti-imperialist rhetoric in words such as while in practice commit imperialism that rivals the traditional NATO imperialist powers..

We would like to iterate to this comrade that their mind isn’t so simple as ey might let off. We appreciate the humbleness that revolutionaries should have that this comrade has shown, but in the end the contrite and popular phrase that the imperialist governments are the real criminals is true. Sure, we wouldn’t boil down world imperialism to money laundering; but theft and murder are important objectionable aspects of imperialism. We see many imprisoned comrades who project the anti-people crimes they struggle to overcome onto the criminal ways of the imperialists, and for a starting point these oversimplifications might not be the worst thing as a step towards revolutionary thinking.

With that said we would disagree that Russia is doing self-defense with regards to their invasion of Ukraine. As the above points laid out, we should avoid choosing sides in inter-imperialist conflict even though the U.$. and NATO imperialist forces didn’t have direct boots in Ukraine (which the comrade has also expressed as well).

The real question comes in as how Lenin’s theses on “The Defeat of One’s Own Government in the Imperialist War” would mean in practice in our current material conditions where the revolutionary forces are much weaker and arguably much more revisionist and opportunist than even the revisionist European and imperialist country communist movements which Lenin was writing polemics against.(10) One point that we can start from is this: the war that we should be focusing on is the war waged by Amerika against its internal semi-colonies of the Black, Chican@, and Indigenous Nations through mass imprisonment and police occupation. With this issue’s Under Lock & Key covering the topic of how “Prisons Are War,” we would like to further expand on how prisons play this role of low-intensity genocide against the masses.

Notes. 0.300 million exploited whites: where are they? (Not in the United $tates), MIM FAQ.
1. Andrew S. Bowen, 1 August 2023, Russia’s Wagner Private Military Company (PMC), Congressional Research Service.

2. Stewart Bell, 29 June, 2023, In Prigozhin’s shadow, the Wagner Group leader who stays out of the spotlight, Global News.

3. Ibid.

4. Brian Castner, 1 June 2022, The White Power Mercenaries Fighting For the Lost Cause Around the World, TIME.

5. Joshua Yaffa, 31 July 2023, Inside the Wagner Group’s Armed Uprising, The New Yorker

6. Kevin Shalvey, 10 July 2023, Russian rebellion timeline: How the Wagner uprising against Putin unfolded and where Prigozhin is now, ABC News

7. Ibid.

8. Ibid.

9. Associated Press, 27 August 2023, Russia confirms that Yevgeny Prigozhin was killed in last week’s plane crash, NPR.

10. Lenin, 26 July 1915, The Defeat of One’s Own Government in the Imperialist War, Lenin Collected Works.

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [ULK Issue 83]
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Guerrillas in Concrete Jungles

guerilla warfare
Rhetorical Rhetoric composed in a symphony
of tactical swears of Infamy,
Musik filling idle Hands of youthful Revolutionaries, inducing
Rebellion and Civil disobedience, against the
Systematic Repression of Authorities,
as we’re defiantly resisting political ploys of distraction
targeting us in silent wars, with Ruses of Fake News,
as the media glorifies Police as Heroes while they Kill the innocent
without consequence or Justice,
they’re the Evil we strive against,
with every ounce of our beings,
they’re straw dogs and paper tigers,
a gang costumed behind authority we don’t recognize,
for the only authority is God, the only one to Judge us,
Enemies of the POLICE State,
who demand allegiance to Arbitrary capricious laws by Riflepoint
for Farcical Freedom that Does Not Exist in Enslaved Minds of Ignorance,
Miss Me with the pitch of Nationalistic Propaganda
for WE THE PEOPLE exist to Resist control tactics
with self-determination and Freewill,
A Resistance Refusing conformity to mainstream idealisms of a Government
that does not represent us, or our constitutional Rights,
we Are P.O.W’s, Prisoner’s of War, waged with law,
which we must wield as Arms we Bear;
fighting for freedom in these Modern-Day Concentration Camps,
for if we Are ignorant of our Rights and laws that govern us
we are powerless and Dead to rights, Authorities rather distract us,
with devices of our own destruction perpetuating intolerance and fueling
fires of prejudice that weaken our resolve of unity to Rise against their system of control,
generating Revenue to keep the cell full in their Monopoly of Incarceration,
while we complacently standby as their Human degradation oppresses our generations
stealing our time, let Rebellion enter our Mind
STATE, since we Are left Dead to Rights without any Alternatives,
we Must beat the Drum of Anarchy, or we will never see freedom,
nor will our children, one word wielded as war weapons at a time,
Empowering the Mind’s of Masses united by common grievances that call us to fight side by side,
putting aside differences, for the enemy of my enemy is my friend,
sedition charismatically spoken by a leader inspires our Movement,
one of counter-culture Activists cutting strings of delusion attached to our souls,
by belief systems that no longer serve our interests,
No longer will we obey as puppets dancing for malevolent puppeteers of Governments we no longer recognize;
ones who rendered us Enemies of The STATE, with usurpation of our inalienable constitutional Rights,
so there’s Nothing left but determined defiance, using their own plots, ploys, contrived Artifice and stratagem tactics as our own against them,
in suits of Individual Capacity to Levy their Assets since their Immunity is an illusion,
one we must mercilessly exploit,
battling the system systemically,
making us all wealthy,
taking back what’s ours,
they illegality makes them easy targets in the court,
with Civil Rights suits,
we hunt the Leviathan of the Prison Industry,
that made us slaves and commodities on the market of Incarceration,
with warrior Minds we can pry open the blinded eyes of injustice;
Lex Talionis, Eye for an Eye, the solution of Revolution Kids,
as Partisans of propaganda by deeds, “Gazavat” our sacred struggle,
against State Entities of Oppression in the color of Law,
we are Freedom Fighters, patriots, Guerrillas in concrete jungles
refreshing the Tree of Liberty with our Blood.

MIM(Prisons) notes: We thought these lyrics fit well with the theme of Under Lock & Key 83. However, we of course measure our correctness through action with the international proletariat as the ultimate judges of how we performed.

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[Drugs] [Bent County Correctional Facility] [Colorado] [ULK Issue 84]
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We Want Security, They Want Control

We’ve been having tons of problems here at Bent County Correctional Facility in Colorado. There’s been a surge of drugs and violence, culminating in a murder just last week. Meanwhile, they are attempting to force non-trouble-causing prisoners in the “incentive program” into providing unpaid slave labor by working – normally paid – job assignments for free. They are closing down numerous educational programs, leaving no “incentives” for good behavior.

For some unfathomable reason, they actually promoted the Chief of “Security” (Control) here – the very one who oversaw the increases in drugs, gangs and violence here – to Associate Warden! The problems have continued to get worse since his promotion. I honestly suspect he is behind all the drugs and other contraband coming in here; he is known for his “old school” mentality on running a prison. And what better way to maintain control (NOT secure!) than to keep everyone high and fighting each other, right?

I have had a lot of positive feedback from people here about some of the concepts in the Revolutionary 12 Steps program. I hope to continue spreading the ideas of unity and change around here. I’d like another copy and any other ideas you have for our course fighting addiction. I’ve enclosed a donation of stamps.


MIM(Prisons) responds: Thank you. You should have received another Revolutionary 12 Steps by now. Please continue to send us your successes, failures and lessons learned in fighting addiction and we will share them with others in ULK and via the 12 Step Training Group. While our training program is on hiatus until we can get a skilled trainer to run it again, we will keep everyone who is actively working on this issue informed of any progress on our end.

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[Theory]
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On Primitive Communism and Capitalist Individualism

“You must teach that socialism-communalism is as old as man; that its principles formed the basis of mostly all the East Afrikan cultures (there was no way to denote possession in the original East Afrikan tongues). The only independent Afrikan societies today are socialistic. Those which allowed capitalism to remain are still neo-colonies. Any Black who would defend an Afrikan military dictatorship is as much a fascist as Hoover.”

  • George Jackson

No one in history ever possessed a greater skill set for individual survival than the primitive hunter-gatherer warrior, yet ey was a deeply committed communalist who put the interest of eir tribe, eir village, and eir extended family above his own. The warrior believed that eir life was not eir own, but belonged to the people; and ey considered it a great honor to live a life of service to the people and if need be to sacrifice eir life in their defense. This is the warrior’s ethics, and it doesn’t matter which group on which continent we are talking about because such are the roots of humyn social evolution.

There have always been individuals, and in a sense there has always been individualism, but it wasn’t always regarded as a virtue. In primitive societies, it was seen as dishonorable – like lying or cowardice. There were few things that could get one thrown out of the collective and be made an outcast. Rampant individualism was one. To be cast out was worse than a sentence of death. We are social beings, and it is in society that we find fulfillment of any emotional needs. In prison, when the kaptors want to try to break us, they put us in solitary confinement.

Capitalism promotes individualism because everyone is set in competition with everyone else. People must compete for jobs, promotions, and for status. Every capitalist is in competition with every other capitalist. That’s why it is called a “rat race.” People suffer from “alienation” and seek some substitute for tribal belonging. People will join gangs and kill or be killed just to have this sense of belonging. Is joining the marines any different? People become ardent sports fans to have some group identity and wear their team’s colors and share their glory. Belonging is a need under capitalism: everything is commodified.

Bourgeois critics often make the charge that socialism sacrifices the interest of the individual for the collective; but are the individual and the collective really in contradiction? This is what Stalin had to say in his interview with H.G. Wells in 1934:

“There is no, nor should there be, irreconcilable contrast between the individual and the collective, between the individual person and the interests of the collective. There should be no such contrast because collectivism/socialism does not deny but combines individual interests with the interests of the collective. Socialism cannot abstract itself from individual interests. Socialist society alone can most fully satisfy these personal interests. More than that, socialist society alone can firmly safeguard the interests of the individual. In this sense, there is no irreconcilable contrast between individualism and socialism.”

Unless the individual’s interest is to do harm to the collective, to exploit its members for personal gain, or subvert its freedom, it is in the collective interests to give full play to the individual’s initiative and creativity. Mao’s famous call for individual freedom of expression in the arts of science was in contrast to certain dogmatic and bureaucratic tendencies that has arisen in Russia and China:

“The policy of letting a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools of thought contend is designed to promote the flourishing of the arts and the progress of science.”

Some would later complain bitterly that Mao had lured them into a trap when they were subsequently criticized for their ideas. But freedom of expression is not freedom from criticism. Ey never said to let the poisonous weed to bloom.

The democratic method is to allow people to speak their minds, but this is a two-way street. Others have the right to disagree and criticize you as well. The collective interest will best be served when people are above board and say what they think, at the risk that it will be picked apart and rejected by others and even ridiculed as rubbish by the majority. No one is obligated to tell you your opinions are great. On the other hand, your opinion might find favor and change everyone’s views for the better. That is the risk of free expression. New ideas always start with someone who thinks for themselves and may not at first be popular or well accepted.

In this way a revolutionary organization/collective pursues its inner collective democracy while maintaining unity in action. There is a time for free discussion and time for united action and this is the basis of democratic revolutionary praxis. The collective protects the rights of the individual who serves the interests of the collective.

The comrades of your collective should be like your family – even closer than that. Your very lives may depend on each other. The comrades will each have different strengths and weaknesses and should complement each other using their own strengths to help the others transform their weaknesses into strengths. Comrades should not be competitive with one another. Recognition and advancement are fine, but one should be happy to serve in whatever capacity the collective feels would be best. It is all about what we can accomplish together – whether one is high or low in rank is insignificant. To be a comrade is important.

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[Revolutionary History] [Attica Correctional Facility] [New York] [ULK Issue 83]
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In Remembrance of the Attica Uprising

Attica

In 1970 few of Attica’s captives made more than 6 cents a day and the state’s food budget was a meager 63 cents per day per prisoner, causing able-bodied men to go to bed hungry in, of all places, the United $tates of America! These same men were also only allowed 1 shower per week & spent 15-24 hours everyday locked in tiny cages as if they were some type of exotic bird. For prisoners from the New York City area it would cost loved ones over $100 in travel expenses to visit and 24 hours of time away from work, school, etc., leaving no realistic way for those struggling to provide help to their loved ones in the future if they did in fact decide to visit.

With money being a known issue for these poor Black and Brown prisoners, doctors at Attica Correctional Facility would offer these men money to be “volunteers” as subjects for exposure to a test virus.(1) Albeit, these men were made to sign informed consent agreements being denied access to real vocational & educational training opportunities and/or drug programs. How “informed” were they really? Only 1.6% of Attica’s operating budget was allotted to academic & vocational training. That is 1.6% out of 100%! So, malnourished, ignored, & hindered from life skills, “They’d need to fight the invisibility that comes with being poor… They would have to work just to learn!” (quoting imperialist Michelle Obama) And “a riot is the language of the unheard.” (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.)

What was falling on deaf ears were a list of 15 “practical proposals” by these oppressed prisoners, which could’ve been easily agreed to putting an end to this uprising. Question: Why not “allow all inmates at their own expense to communicate with anyone they please”? (Request #5) Why not “when an inmate reaches conditional release, give him a full release without parole”? (Request #6) Why not “institute realistic rehabilitation programs for all inmates according to their offense & personal needs”? (Request #8) Why not “educate all Correctional Officers to the needs of the inmates, i.e. understanding rather than punishment,” (Request #9) & so on & so forth.(2)

Instead government would rather send in armed troopers, policemen, Correctional Officers, Conservation Corps helicopters that would drop C.S. gas [orthochlorobenzylidene] that would hang suspended in the air causing tearing, nausea, & retching in anyone that inhales it. Instead, Governor Rockefeller via Executive Order No. 51, even after all inside were immobilized by the gas, would give the command: “Tell all your units to move in!” Cosigning the murder of hostages and prisoners alike. “Trooper Gerard Smith … saw a trooper approach a prisoner who was lying still on the pavement and shoot him in the head.”(3) “It was very painful to see all these old & crippled guys getting shot … They were in D yard because they had no place else to go.”(4) “Another prisoner who had been shot in the abdomen & in the leg was ordered to get up and walk, which he was unable to do. ‘The trooper then shot him in the head with a handgun.’”(5) “Guard Robert Curtiss also felt the fear of imminent death when a trooper kept knocking him over every time he tried to sit up. He shouted… that he was an officer, but still had to beg the trooper not to shoot him.”(6) “Ultimately … 128 men were shot – some … multiple times … 9 hostages were dead & … 29 prisoners had been fatally shot.”(7) Another hostage in critical condition would later die, pushing the total to 10 hostages killed. “The most tragic thing about the bloody riot & massacre … is that it could have been avoided. If the state had listened to warnings from correctional officers, if administration had shown a modicum of sensitivity in providing for the inmates – if the state had just listened, the revolt might never have occurred!”(8)

For this carnage, escalated by the state to a protest for civil rights and basic liberties, you must blame someone and so you charge 63 prisoner survivors with 1,289 crimes, and not 1 single trooper or guard was indicted. However, some of these survivors continued to fight & share their little light on the hidden truth(s) and via civil rights litigation would win their lawsuit against one man, Attica’s deputy superintendent Karl Pfeil. But, “if any defendant was found liable, the state was liable, and this was no small thing.”(9)

On 5 June 1997, they awarded one of the survivors “Big Black” $4 million in damages. The state would recoup for these losses by underhandedly paying hostage survivors and surviving family members from the workman’s compensation fund, knowing that these people could no longer sue under NYS law because they had elected a remedy the moment they cashed these much needed checks. This is after 2,349 - 3,132 lethal pellets from shotguns were fired indiscriminately in Attica’s D yard; 8 rounds from a .357 caliber; 27 rounds from a .38 caliber & 68 rounds from a .270 caliber, [not to include C.O.’s and other members of law enforcement] fully aware that not 1 prisoner or hostage had a single firearm.

You don’t show a modicum of remorse & pay everyone their just due, but instead you con and scam the dead in the name of budgeting. “40 years after the uprising of 1971, conditions at Attica were worse than they had ever been … by 2001 the Department of Correctional Services had cut over 1200 programs providing services to inmates that were there in 1991.”(10) I wonder how much more money they’d save if they cut out prison & kept the programs? There will be more Attica’s until Federal and State governments and the American people accept their responsibility to establish minimum standards of decency & respect for human rights in our prisons. We cannot afford to wait for new explosions." (Senator Jacob Javits) Instead of waiting for “new explosions” why not get rid of the powdered keg altogether… prisons!

In remembrance of Sept. 9, 1971 REST IN POWER


MIM(Prisons) adds: This issue of ULK is inspired by recent scholarship by Orisanmi Burton, that centers around Attica. One of the points made by Burton is about the revolutionary vision of leaders in Attica and other contemporary organizing efforts, some of which included the same people. These were people who were members of or worked closely with formations like the Black Panther Party, Young Lords Party, Republic of New Afrika, the Puerto Rican Nationalist movement, etc.

One of the conclusions drawn from this is that the reformist demands listed by the comrade above were merely a campaign, with obvious and reasonable demands, that would appeal to the broadest sectors in this country. These reformist demands were not the be all end all goals for many of the leaders involved in these movements. They were winnable demands within a broader strategy for total liberation from oppression.

Notes:
1. Dr. Michael Brandriss, Interview Transcript, Aug. 18, 2012, Criminal Injustice: Death & Politics at Attica, (Blue Sky Project 2012).
2. Richard X Clark, Testimony, Akil Al-Jundi et al. v. The Estate of Nelson A. Rockefeller et al., October 25, 1991, 131;133.
3. Heather Ann Thompson, Blood in the Water p. 183 (Vintage Books)(2016).
4. Ibid. @ p. 184
5. Ibid. @ p. 185
6. Ibid @ p. 186
7. Ibid @ p. 187
8. Ibid. @ p. 260
9. Ibid. @ p. 477
10. Ibid. @ p. 567

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